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Ryan Aeronautical Special Collection
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Collection Details
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  • Biographical / Historical
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Scope and Contents

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
    Title: Ryan Aeronautical Special Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: SDASM
    Physical Description: 100 Cubic Feet This collection is being processed. 100 cubic feet is a low estimate of the total.
    Date (bulk): bulk
    Abstract: The Ryan Aircarft company is one of the most influential in history.
    Physical Description: The series are still being arranged, but a rough estimate of what the final breakdown will look like is below:
 SERIES I: Documents. Over 50 boxes of documents relating to the history of Ryan. A partial listing is below.
 SERIES II: Ryan Photo Albums collected by William Wagner. Close to 100 total.
 SERIES III: 200,000 Ryan Negatives detailing the entire history of the company.
 SERIES IV: Ryan films. Several thousand films detailing the history of the company.
 SERIES V: Northrop Grumman donation. 
 This collection is extremely large, encompassing well over 100 cubic feet and is slowly being processed. As a result this finding guide is incomplete and should be considered a work in progress.

    Biographical / Historical

    Ryan Aeronautical was established by T. Claude Ryan, born in Kansas in 1898 and raised in Southern California from a young age. He developed a fascination with aviation early on, and enrolled in the American College of Aviation in Los Angeles at age nineteen. Ryan was then trained as an Army cadet and served briefly as a pilot for the U.S. Forest Patrol, but soon left to establish Ryan Flying School in San Diego, which also served to give visitors a birds-eye view of San Diego. With a partner, B. F. Mahoney, he also established Ryan Airlines, which he eventually sold to Mahoney. It was Ryan Airlines that built Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis. Ryan Airlines also was the first to offer regular service to and from San Diego. Later, Ryan established a flight school and Ryan Aeronautical Company. The company played an important role in American aviation and in San Diego’s history overall. With aircraft such as the Navion, VTOL jets, military trainers, X-13, and XFR-1, Ryan Aeronautical Company solidified its reputation as a leader in aircraft manufacturing for military, private and commercial uses. They also are known for the creation of the Firebee drone. Ryan aeronautical was the most significant developer of UAVs in the world from 1950s through the 1990s. Teledyne acquired Ryan Aeronautical Company in 1968, becoming Teledyne-Ryan Company. In 1996, Teledyne-Ryan merged with Allegheny-Ludlum Corporation and then with Northrop Grumman Corporation in 1999.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research, but is still being processed.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of a wide range of documents, including (but not limited to): financial records, labor information, newsletters, corporate historical information, executive biographies, company publications, technical reports, training manuals, catalogs, service orders, photographs and correspondence. The collection contains 200,000 negatives documenting the entire history of the company, as well as several thousand films. This collection is extremely large, encompassing well over 100 cubic feet and is slowly being processed. As a result this finding guide is incomplete and should be considered a work in progress.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Ryan Aeronautical X-13 Vertijet
    Ryan Aeronautical Model 124/BQM-34A Firebee
    Ryan B-5 Brougham
    Ryan L-17 Navion
    Ryan PT-22 Recruit
    Spirit of St. Louis
    Drone Aircraft
    Ryan Aeronautical Company
    Lindbergh, Charles A. (Charles Augustus)